Seattle celebrates 100 years on the map

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Imagine a time when Seattle had far more trees than people -- if you can.

It was 1909, a year of optimism, when women were poised to get the vote in Washington, and the harsh realities of World War I and the Great Depression were years away.

In the heady post-Gold Rush boom years, civic leaders decided it was time to put Seattle on the map. The plan: Stage the city's first world's fair. The global bash -- the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition -- aimed to attract more residents, business and trade through national and international exposure.

Few historians -- or anyone aware of King County's population growth or transportation problems today -- doubt that the strategy worked. The exposition lured dreamers, honeymooners, relatives and tourists -- many of whom never left. A total of 3.7 million people came to the fair, which ran from June 1 to Oct. 16, 1909.

The fair was a big deal then, and to celebrate its centennial, the city of Seattle, local historians and others are planning events to mark one of the region's biggest milestones.

Pavilions representing Pacific Rim states and countries, and the fair's mix of pageantry, art, educational exhibits, international displays and carnival attractions brought people together with a new concept -- globalism.

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